Jury acquits man charged with assaulting Mission district store clerk

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A man charged with assault after a convenience store clerk accused him of attacking him with a machete was acquitted by a jury and freed last week, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office said today.

Sergio Ribeiro, 48, was acquitted on Thursday of assault with a deadly weapon and freed later that day, according to Deputy Public Defender Hien Ngoc Nguyen.

Ribeiro was arrested Dec. 2, 2015 after a clerk at a market on Mission Street near the 16th Street BART station reported that he had swung a machete at him when asked to leave the store.

Police and public defender’s office investigators were unable to retrieve video surveillance of the incident.

Store clerks also told conflicting and changing stories about the alleged attack before and during the trial, at some points claiming the machete had struck a door that showed no signs of damage and later saying Ribeiro had only raised the machete in a threatening manner, according to defense attorneys.

“Not only were their stories different from each other, they were different from their original accounts and different from the police officers’ recollections,” Nguyen said.

The jury acquitted Ribeiro after a day’s deliberation following the three-day trial.

Ribeiro remained in jail for four months because he could not afford bail, defense attorneys said.

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